New York Yankees fans are not celebrating this Mariners trade anniversary

Seattle Mariners' right fielder Jay Buhner watches his second towering home run of the day against the Oakland Athletics 13 June. Buhner drove in all three of the Mariners runs in a losing effort as the A's beat the Mariners 7-3. AFP PHOTO/Monica M. DAVEY (Photo by MONICA DAVEY / AFP) (Photo credit should read MONICA DAVEY/AFP via Getty Images)
Seattle Mariners' right fielder Jay Buhner watches his second towering home run of the day against the Oakland Athletics 13 June. Buhner drove in all three of the Mariners runs in a losing effort as the A's beat the Mariners 7-3. AFP PHOTO/Monica M. DAVEY (Photo by MONICA DAVEY / AFP) (Photo credit should read MONICA DAVEY/AFP via Getty Images) /
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For New York Yankees fans, including Frank Costanza, today is certainly not an anniversary that will be celebrated.

Let’s look back at the Seattle Mariners-New York Yankees trade that involved Jay Buhner

It was on July 21, 1988, that the Yankees acquired Ken Phelps from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Jay Buhner, Rick Balabon, and Troy Evers. The trade was not well received after Buhner blossomed into one of the cornerstones for the Mariners (playing 14 seasons in the Emerald City) and hitting 40 or more home runs in three consecutive campaigns. The swap between the two AL teams also gave birth to one of the most hilarious baseball tirades ever aired on “Seinfeld” when the elder Constanza blasted Yankees owner George Steinbrenner for making the deal.

“What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?” will go down as one of the classic questions ever asked on the show. Costanza was probably asking that even more when Buhner posted a .458 batting average against the Yankees in the 1995 American League Division Series to help the Mariners advance to the ALCS with a 3-2 series win over New York.

More Yankees. A major league outfield?. light

So, echoing Costanza, what did the Yankees trade Buhner for? Well, in Phelps, the Bronx Bombers got a player who would spend just two more seasons in the Majors and total 342 plate appearances, logging a .240/.339/.442 slash line in his career in pinstripes.

On August 30, 1989, the Yankees traded Phelps to the Oakland A’s for minor leaguer Scott Holcomb. The southpaw reliever would get as high as Triple-A but never reach the Majors.

The deal certainly benefitted Seattle more than the Yankees in terms of a Buhner vs. Phelps comparison. However, while Buhner helped knock New York out of the playoffs in 1995, the Yankees would gain some revenge by winning four World Series titles before the end of the century. New York would also knock Buhner and the Mariners out of the postseason in 2000 and 2001.

Buhner and Phelps will always be linked together by the trade as well as the classic “Seinfeld” reference. They know it and they embrace it.

Next. Injury costs the Yankees a potential trade chip. dark

While the trade may have boosted the Mariners for their magical 1995 postseason run, it certainly didn’t keep the Yankees from retooling and having one of the more dominant stretches in recent MLB history. Today may not be a day for Yankees fans to celebrate, but they certainly would have plenty of other reasons to celebrate in the days to come.